Eatinist Bitch hails from Queens, NY and loves food almost as much as she likes to talk. She’s been blogging since Summer 2010, and is currently interning for Robicelli’s Cupcakes in Brooklyn, NY. Check out her blog and like her on Facebook to get recipes, reviews, and other tasty nibbles.
“Can Geico save you 15% or more on your car insurance? Does a 10lb bag of flour make a really big biscuit?”
A mother walks in on her son, standing on a chair in front of the kitchen table. He has a look of utmost calm upon his face as he carefully butters the top of an enormous biscuit. Flour and baking materials lay askew, and a fine cloud of the powdery stuff hangs over all. She stands speechless for a beat, and goes right back out of the kitchen shaking her head and leaving him to his handiwork.
To my friend, Tana, that entire commercial is how she imagines me as a kid: a food obsessed child with permanent flour streaks on her face (also, a biscuit enthusiast). I don’t think she realized how close to home the commercial hit until I told her this story.
On a rainy Saturday, my 5 or 7 year old self took to wandering around the house, because that’s what I did when I was bored. My afternoon cartoons were in reruns, and you could only read the same books so many times. So, why not go exploring? My house isn’t that big, but at the time I thought it was a castle of warm wood and cozy spaces. Even if I couldn’t find somewhere new to play, I could at least find a nice place to nap. Eventually my wanderings led me to our kitchen, one of my favorite places in the world.
I was greeted by the lazy whoosh of the ceiling fan as soon as I walked in. I stood in the middle of the kitchen to assess my situation. Did I want something to eat? Did I want to go to the big bookshelf filled with cookbooks and pull something down to read? I wasn’t hungry for food, or reading or anything like that…I wanted to play. That’s when I turned around and saw it.
My mom had 3 ceramic canisters that she used to keep dry provisions in. One marked “Rice”, and another was marked “Sugar”. The third, well, it was unmarked and looked very different from the first two. Those were on the tall side with square edges and domed lids with grips on the inside of them. The third container was a circle all around with a shiny white cover that looked like a tam o’shanter cap. And, its belly was always filled to the brim with white, unbleached flour.
I pulled a chair over from the kitchen table and climbed on top of it so I would be level with the counter. I positioned the canister in front of me using both hands, because I knew it’d be less likely to fall that way. I pulled off the lid slowly, and a little puff of flour rose into the air. It tickled my nose and made me giggle, and the sound echoed in the silence of the room.
On the side of the flour jar, there was a little ceramic loop that held a little wooden dipper. It was carved smooth and light, and looked like a tiny ice cream scoop. I saw mounds of soft vanilla ice cream in this pile of flour, and I thought it should be scooped as such. I began to scoop the flour, lifting the little trough high in the air, and then turning it over so that the flour would fall out with a soft plop.
The kitchen soon began to smell nutty, as I was sending quite a considerable amount of flour into the air. I had long since abandoned the scoop, and instead, plunged my hands deep into the cool powdery mass, letting it slowly sift through my fingers. My mother didn’t really bake very much (she used the flour primarily to make dumplings, which I despised for their doughy heaviness), but I knew from the cooking shows that I adored and the Jewish bakery that we got our Challah and cookies from, that flour was usually the start of something good. In flour’s pale blank state lay the promise of cookies, pie crusts, cakes, and big fluffy biscuits to drag through rich brown gravy. And aside from all that, playing in the flour was just plain fun.
Now, my back was to the kitchen door, so I hadn’t noticed that my mother had been watching me powder myself and the kitchen counter like a doughnut for the past 10 minutes. There’s always a change in the air around you when you’re about to get in trouble, though. Almost as if the air’s ions are scrambling to find a hiding place because they are scared of your 5’11, Jamaican mother.
Somehow, I came to the realization that something was amiss, and stopped.
I slowly turned myself around on the chair and looked up right into to her big, brown eyes. What a sight I must have been! Face, hands and arms completely covered in flour, and sprinkles of it dusting my plaited pigtails that stuck out like sausages from the side of my head. I was a complete mess. I saw my mom’s hand reach out for me, and I wasn’t too sure I wanted to see what would come after that. I jumped off the chair with a yelp and ran away, twisting around her long legs, and hoping with all of my might that I would disappear, like the little girl ghost that I had become.
* * *
Little Ghost Girl is part of our Summer Series.